The Uttar Pradesh Paradox

The Uttar Pradesh Paradox: why do states which send the highest proportion of female MPs to parliament also have such high gender inequality? Date of Release: January 14th, 2015 Published in: The Political Indian Since his election, our Prime Minister has made the promotion of gender equality a central policy priority. On October 11th, he declared “[L]et us pledge to create an atmosphere of equality for the girl child. There is no question of any discrimination based on gender.” How does this political goal translate into implementation? Women’s increased representation in political office is often seen as a crucial step to increasing gender equality more broadly, besides being an important shift in and of itself. Indeed, the Rajya Sabha has already passed a bill that would amend the Constitution to reserve 33% of seats in the Lok Sabha and in state legislatures for women. An analysis of states that currently send comparatively high proportions of women to the Lok Sabha reveals an unusual paradox: many states that perform well nationally in terms of female representation in Parliament have some of the highest levels of gender inequality. Nevertheless, in absolute terms women’s representation in the Lok Sabha is still extremely low. Women in Parliament during the 16th Lok Sabha.[Link] As the Swaniti Initiative’s JIgyasa heatmap from the 16th Lok Sabha shows, there is no particular pattern to which states have high representation of women in parliament and which do not. Some states with high representation, like Kerala, are widely regarded as having greater gender equality. However, what is seemingly incongruous is the comparatively high proportion of female MPs in states like...

Lessons from North-East for Harnessing Renewable Energy Sources

Date of Release: November 11th, 2014 Published at: Indian Express Earlier this month, Piyush Goyal, the Minister of State for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy, pledged to make India a “renewable superpower” over the next few years, with a renewed commitment to solar power. India’s Central Governments have long pledged a ‘greener grid’, and undertaken efforts such as the institution of the National Action Plan on Climate Change, commitments to supply electricity to over 300 million citizens by leveraging renewable sources, and the organization of India’s First Global Renewable Energy Investors Summit in early 2015, in an attempt to develop the nation’s renewable energy potential. However, with all our good intentions and ambitious plans, is India prepared to reduce its dependency on traditional sources of energy? Swaniti Initiative examined our country’s commitment to clean energy by conducting a state-wise analysis of the percentage of total installed electricity capacity based on renewable sources from 2004 to 2012. Renewable energy sources included in this analysis refer to solar, wind, small hydro, biomass, and urban and industrial waste. ANALYSIS The state-wise analysis revealed renewable energy sources to account for a much higher percentage of overall state installed capacity in the North Eastern states, with Nagaland (65%), Sikkim (64%), and Arunachal Pradesh (62%) leading the pack. The graph below indicates that in these three states, electricity generated from renewable sources has on average accounted for more than 60% of the overall amount of installed electricity capacity in the state between 2004 and 2012. With a high potential for wind energy and consistent investment over the years, Tamil Nadu (39%) has the fourth highest...

Fixing sanitation to improve retention in schools

Date of Release: September 9th, 2014 Published in: Times of India Statoistics India’s sanitation infrastructure in schools continues to be poor. Nationally, 19.15% of primary schools do not have separate girls’ toilets, 6% of all primary schools do not have facilities for drinking water while 58.4% of all primary schools do not have a hand-washing facility near toilets. While enrolment rates at the primary education level have increased significantly in all states in the past few years, retention of students enrolling remains a challenge. At the all-India level, more than 17% of students who enrolled in Class I in 2009-10 did not enrol in Class V in...